Locally Owned Energy vs. PG&E Monopoly
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The battery is just a start, of course. Truly conservative efforts as Mr. May mentions are needed. Overpopulation and zero education -- STEM or otherwise-- must be solved.

The stated goal of international meetings in Paris this year (after 20 years of talks and documents about global warming with still no international agreement) is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate change. Loss of Coastside fisheries and increasingly rapid sea level rise represent MASSIVE CHANGE that has not even been effectively addressed.

Political will? Leading climate scientist James Hansen says President Obama's climate initiative is "100% unadulterated pure bullshit":

Obama know better. Let's hope this lame-duck president changes his tune on global warming, before it's too late for our children to thrive, and our grandchildren to survive.

Not a word about overpopulation, which underlies all energy supply problems.

So-called "alternative" energy sources are not necessarily clean and not necessarily green. All evaluations of energy projects, prominently including electrical energy, need to include both environmental consequences and net energy provided. With any long-term consideration, almost all industrial-scale alternative energy projects so far (think wind farms covering ridges and mountain passes and solar arrays covering large tracts of desert) fall short of any significant improvement on our dirty old ways. If new county or city energy systems depend on electricity from them, there is little to no real-world improvement accomplished and, in some cases, additional overall degradation.

The numbers can work out differently with well-designed locally generated energy. The grid is already in place, saving the monetary and enormous environmental cost of wide swaths of damaged landscape and construction associated with new transmission lines, pipelines, railroads, seaports (for exports), etc. With ever more efficient solar panels coming onto the market, every rooftop becomes an existing support for them, including the roofs of parking lots and parking structures. Some sides of buildings oriented toward the sun can also support panels, and practical solar windows are not far off. Small-scale wind power designs can also be worked into buildings and other sacrifice areas like roadways and the industrial landscape. Building redesign, especially for passive solar, and retrofitting can hugely reduce their energy needs, as can innumerable other means to increase the efficiency of energy use. In limited local circumstances, microhydro, geothermal, biomass, methane from agriculture, and other local energy sources can make sense.

With local energy generation and storage, also called dispersed or distributed energy, no *new* industrial energy projects would be needed for domestic use, though we will still need a diminishing amount of "old energy" for the years needed to make a transition to sustainability. (Less developed countries can actually make the transition more easily because of their lesser dependence on industrial-scale energy.)

With population stabilization and eventual slow reduction from our current state of dire overshoot, we could even get busy on systematically removing the most egregious industrial energy facilities, starting with hydropower dams that degrade entire river systems and large coal-fired power plants.

The technology needed to embark on all of this grandiose wishful thinking already exists and will only get better in terms of possibilities for local energy independence, efficiency, and economic feasibility. What is most needed at the moment is public and political will. International conferences like the one in Paris can be useful for global issues, but it's obvious the leadership for meaningful, sustainable improvement in the quality of human life and the entire now-degraded environment on which all life depends will need to come from all of us on an individual and local level.

Soon big batteries for the house will permit storing solar energy for home use:


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